The EU and Ukraine cooperate to reduce dependence on Russian raw materials
The European Commission and the Ukrainian government have insisted on the urgency of the European Union lowering its dependence from other countries to obtain critical raw materials after the situation left by the war on Moscow’s resources and assured that they will strengthen their cooperation in this area since Ukraine has significant reserves of them. This Tuesday kyiv has signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to modernize the management of Ukrainian geological data, after they sealed with the EU in July 2021 a strategic agreement in raw materials.
“The European energy crisis triggered by Gazprom’s manipulative actions and blackmail showed us all that critical dependence on a single supplier leads to disastrous consequences, which is why we must prevent a repetition of a similar scenario in the sphere of raw materials to reinforce mutual resistance to possible future crises“said the Ukrainian president, Deny Schmyhal.
During his telematic intervention at a conference on raw materials organized in Brussels, the Ukrainian president explained that the Russian invasion has forced them to postpone the plans they had to put the strategic alliance with the EU into practice in 2022, but he has defended that Ukraine it can be an important partner for the Twenty-seven. Ukraine, he recalled, was last year among the ten largest producers in the world of materials such as titanium, magnesium, zirconium or graphite, among others, and has deposits of 20 of the 30 minerals identified as critical by the EU.
“We are ready for join forces with the EU to reinforce strategic autonomy and achieve complete independence from Russian resources”, said Schmyhal, who has called for his country to be a “fundamental part” of the Law on Critical Raw Materials that the European Commission will present in the first quarter of 2023. For the vice-president of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic, the association between the EU and Ukraine can “give fruits mutually”.
On the one hand, it will help Ukraine “to bring its policies and regulatory frameworks to the EU, as well as to better develop and integrate their value chains in raw materials and batteries” within the single European market, while “creating momentum for reconstruction, economic development and employment”. The Twenty-seven will benefit from greater diversification of their sources of raw materials and of a reinforcement of its industrial base and “know-how” that are “crucial to preserve its global competitiveness”, according to Sefcovic. “Working together with like-minded countries, such as the Ukraine, but also the United States, Canada, Norway, Greenland and the Western Balkanswe can also prevent critical raw materials from being used as a weapon”, said the community vice president.
Raw materials considered critical are essential for the ecological and digital transition, since they are used from solar panels to the blades of wind turbines, going through a large part of digital devices. Among them are titanium, lithium, magnesium or rare earths, among others. China is the main supplier of a good part of them, particularly rare earths, but Russia is, for example, the largest supplier European palladium, essential for make chips.
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